VANDALIA — Butler High School students and community members honored 16 fallen members of the Vandalia-Butler community during the 37th Annual Memorial Day Program on Friday.
The program honored 16 individuals dating back to the Civil War: Joseph Beal, Ambrose Beeson, Dean Black, John Buckmaster, Dennis Davidson, James Jordan, Jr., Robert Lumm, Elwood Rogers, David Sabec, Gary Schlecht, Kay Shearer, Hillory Shifflett, Larry Tootle, Dorothy VanZant, Thomas Westerman and George Youngerman, Jr.
The colors were presented by Tory Elrich (Class of 2010), Tyler Hickerson (2011), Ryan Sink (2014), and Zach Herbst (2016).
The Butler Chamber Choir led the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and student Dustin Lewis introduced guests and led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Student Savannah Stanaford told those in attendance what it is like to be a student while her father was deployed on multiple occasions.
Butler student Sam Penewit invoked President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as spoke about the sacrifices made by those who have given their lives defending freedom.
“As Lincoln says in timeless fashion, words cannot express the gratitude, we, as a nation owe to these brave men and women,” he said. “Vandalia and Butler township has had a son or daughter in almost every American conflict or war since our days as small village and township right before the Civil War. During these past 150 years our school, our community, and our nation lost 16 heroes, who would never again watch an Ohio sunset from their front porch in our small town.”
The ceremony concluded with a wreath being placed on at the base of the flag in Butler Memorial Stadium as the flag was lowered to half-staff. Taps was then played before the audience was dismissed.
“In the end Memorial Day and Memorial Day Weekend is a time for reflection, and the fact that so many picnics and get-togethers happen during this weekend is a great representation of what these men and women died for, that is, our American way of life,” said Penewit. “However, while your days wind down and you yourself sit on the front porch of your home watching an Ohio sunset creep below the horizon, remember the men and women, not only in Memorial Hall, but around the country, whose sacrifices made it possible.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.